28 January 2018

Chess Photos on eBay

Despite the increasing popularity of photos as collectors' items, we don't often see them here on Top eBay Chess Items by Price. While an individual photo might be expensive compared to other photos, it isn't when compared to other categories, like artwork.

Take, for example, the last photo featured in this series, Man Ray Chess Photos (September 2017), which I used because 'the short list had only a single item and I had to go well under my usual cutoff price to find it.' How many other unique photos are lurkng just outside the price radar?

The following image shows the highest priced items returned by eBay on a search for 'chess photos'. The highest priced item -- 'CUSTOM PET PORTRAIT pencil drawing from your favorite photo by Carlene Chess' -- isn't a chess item, but the rest are.

After the pet portraits is an item titled 'Café De La Régence Photo Photograph Paris Regency Cafe Chess Chessmasters'. It sold for US $250, 'Buy It Now '. The description said,

Albumen Photograph of Café De La Régence. Paris: [circa 1890]. Two albumen photographs adhesive mounted on opposite sides of a stiff card album leaf. Photos measure 8 3/8” x 10 7/8” on a leaf measuring 14” x 10¾. Photos very good or better with some fading, mostly at extremities.

An outstanding photograph of the Café De La Régence, the storied cafe that originally opened in 1681 and was located at 161 Rue Saint-Honoré when this photo was taken. It was considered a center of European Chess with numerous masters playing there as well as a haven for intellectuals -- Marx and Engels met for the first time at the cafe in 1844. This photo shows well dressed men and women sitting at outside tables while two waiters tend to them.

Another unusual item is the first photo on the second line. Titled '1984 Press Photo Bobby Fischer Plays Chess with 55 Opponents in Milwaukee', it sold for US $129.50 after 17 bids. Its description was copied from the accompanying press caption, which said,

Matching wits with a roomful of opponents at once, Bobby Fischer, the United States chess champion, studied a move at the Pfister Hotel, Thursday night. Fischer played 55 opponents, moving continuously around the inside of a large rectangle. He defeated 47 foes, drew five and lost to three.

The description also said, 'Photo measures 9.75 x 8 inches. Photo is dated 05-15-1984', repeating the error in the item's title. That should be '1964'.

The other items in the composite image did not fetch higher prices for being photos. Several sold for their autographs. The last item was titled 'RARE Chess Memoirs: Chess Career Physician Lasker Pupil Joseph Platz SIGNED' and sold 'Best offer accepted' for less than the asking price.

Rare limited print copy of "Chess Memoirs: The Chess Career of a Physician and Lasker Pupil" by Joseph Platz written in memory of his dear friend and teacher "The Greatest of them all" Dr. Emmanuel Lasker. 1979. This copy is signed and dedicated by Dr. Joseph Platz to "William Lombardy" who wrote his ExLibris on the back of the cover page.

I imagine it came from the same collection as Lombardy's MCO (October 2017).

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